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Maternity Leave Laws

Need a sample maternity leave policy? Information on pregnancy disability leave? We can help with the latest on topics like disability maternity leave.

Creating a legally compliant maternity leave policy is harder than ever. When you need assistance, trust Business Management Daily to help you deliver.

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The media empire Bloomberg L.P. has won a huge victory in a case championed by the EEOC. The agency had claimed that Bloomberg discriminated companywide against women who became pregnant and returned to work.
Pregnant employees have partial protection against discrimination under several state and federal laws, including the Pregnancy Dis­crimi­na­tion Act, Title VII’s sex discrimination provision and the FMLA. But you may not realize that a pregnant employee may also be covered by the ADA.

Pregnant women have special protection from discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. But many employers don’t realize that PDA protections continue for a period of time after the pregnancy ends. Essentially, anytime you terminate an employee who has recently been pregnant, you risk a PDA lawsuit.

Some employees think that if they are pregnant, they can’t be fired. While it’s true that firing someone because they are pregnant is illegal, it doesn’t follow that every discharge involving a mother-to-be is discrimination. Be prepared to show legitimate, nonpregnancy-related reasons for your action and you should survive a lawsuit.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: When an employee announces her pregnancy, the only appropriate response is “Con­grat­u­la­tions!” Anything else may end up being used against you later if things don’t go smoothly.

Here’s a tip that can save needless hassle: Tell managers and super­visors they should greet every pregnancy announcement with a big smile and a hearty “Congratulations!” That’s because at least one federal court in Ohio has used a supervisor’s silence as possible circumstantial evi­dence that the pregnant employee was discharged because she was expecting.

Performance improvement plans (PIPs) can help turn around subpar employees. But if you use PIPs, make sure you implement them equitably. For example, if you place a sales­person on a PIP to raise falling sales, then institute a PIP for everyone whose sales have fallen to the same level. That’s especially important if one of the employees is about to take FMLA leave or is pregnant.

The EEOC is suing Tarheel Medical Transport, alleging the Wilson County company forced pregnant employees to take leaves of absences until after their children were born. The lawsuit claims the policy violates the federal Pregnancy Dis­crimi­nation Act.

Until now, courts have frequently concluded that a woman who is fired for undergoing fertility treatments—that is, fired before becoming pregnant—probably isn’t covered by the Pregnancy Dis­crimination Act. But now a court has concluded that women who undergo in vitro fertilization efforts are protected under the PDA. That’s because only women can undergo the process.

It’s one thing to grant a reasonable accommodation request. It’s another thing entirely to make the accommodation happen. Once you have approved an accommodation, someone from HR must ensure the decision is implemented.

Some employees think they can walk out on their jobs as soon as it looks like their employer is going to violate their rights. Then they sue, arguing constructive discharge. But courts expect employees to give their employers a chance to right wrongs.

When an em­­ployee announces she is pregnant, the only appropriate re­sponse is “Con­grat­ulations!” Then give her the information she needs so she can take any leave to which she is entitled. Negative comments can be used to prove pregnancy discrimination, but neutral ones cannot.

Some employers believe that pregnant women aren’t entitled to time off for pregnancy-related matters because pregnant women aren’t disabled or unable to perform their jobs. That’s wrong and can land employers in big trouble. The fact is that prenatal visits and even bouts of nausea are the sorts of things that Congress considered when covering pregnancy under the FMLA.

You can count the number of nations lacking a definitive law providing paid maternity leave on one hand—and still have two fingers left over. Guess what. One is the United States. That’s what Human Rights Watch found when it studied family leave practices worldwide.

Overtime pay. Discrimination. Family leave. Harassment ... Federal employment laws govern all of these issues – and many more – that you deal with at some point in your career.  It's important for supervisors and managers to know the basics of how to comply with those laws. Here's a list of the top 10 most important federal employment laws:

When a young mother begins missing work, a manager may think she isn’t taking her career seriously enough. Expressing that sentiment may provoke your employee to sue.
Employers are generally free to develop their own internal policies, but many laws require employers to notify employees of those policies. Consider the case of Jones v. City of Atlantic City in which an FMLA dispute revealed that Atlantic City hadn’t updated its handbook in 13 years. In fact, the last update happened two months before the FMLA was signed into law.
When an employee announces she’s pregnant, her employer better be able to deliver more than just congratulations. You need legally sound, consistent policies and practices to ward off potential pregnancy complications of your own. Here’s how best to comply with the FMLA, plus a sample policy you can adapt to your own organization:
In late 2010, the EEOC published GINA regulations that provide employers with specific guidance concerning what information they may gather about their employees, how GINA interacts with the FMLA medical certification process and how any genetic information the employer obtains is to be treated.

Employers that pay new hires more than employees with the same or similar experience should be prepared to prove why they needed to sweeten the pot. Otherwise, they risk an Equal Pay Act lawsuit if it just so happens the hire is of the opposite sex as an incumbent.

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